Double Down - A Blog

May 21, 2014 | Posted by Nancy Cummings

[Nancy Cummings with George Woods, the New York Times Children’s Book Editor as dinner guests of the Lippincott Publishing Company at the 1973 ALA Conference in Las Vegas.]

This piece was written because after 41 years, the American Library Association is finally coming back to Las Vegas for its annual conference June, 2014.  It was considered a controversial site for years because of its “sin city” image and the ALA Administration steered clear of it as a location for future conferences.  That is no longer the case and Las Vegas is hosting the conference once again.  Here is a recollection of my experiences at the first ALA Las Vegas Conference.

Remembrances of Things Past:  American Library Association Conference—Las Vegas—1973

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May 8, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

In celebration of Nevada's 150th birthday and Historic Preservation month, Nevada Humanities, in partnership with Vegas Valley Food Tours and the City of Las Vegas, has created the Vintage Vegas Food Tour.

On Saturday May 10th and Saturday May 24th, from 4:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m, we are offering a tour that explores Las Vegas restaurants which have withstood the test of time. Experience magnificent steakhouses, mom and pop ethnic eateries, and old-fashioned food shops that have been in the city for over 25 years. Between tastings, you will hear stories of the history and culture of Las Vegas from knowledgeable and entertaining guides, as you stroll through this downtown neighborhood.

By way of a “taster” (please excuse the pun), here are some short audio slideshows that offer...

Apr 22, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin
[Photograph courtesy of Jeff Ross]
 
Following on from Nevada Humanities' piece about the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering that aired on Reno Public Radio (KUNR) in February, we are delighted to now have new partnership in place with the network to bring to listeners Nevada's Hidden Stories - an occasional series which will focus on the unique people, places, and communities that make Nevada the place we call home.  
 
The latest edition of Nevada's Hidden Stories features writer, photographer, and Nevada resident, CJ Hadley, who was recently presented with a prestigious Wrangler Award for Outstanding Poetry Book from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma.  The award honored the latest book...
Apr 14, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

The photograph above, taken in the dim and distant mists of time, shows the two year old me near a campsite in Normandy.  Evidently I have always taken my boulangerie items very seriously.

My brother and I were blessed to be raised by two Francophile parents in the county of Kent, which lies adjacent to the English channel. The combination of this geographical proximity and parental predilection meant that we spent many a family holiday in France.  For my brother, David, these early experiences definitively shaped the course of his adult life – he is now an eminent French historian (well, I think he’s eminent anyway). For me, the impact has been...

Mar 16, 2014 | Posted by Karen Wikander

Yesterday, on the Ides of March, my grandmother, Sara Levi, passed away. She would have been 100 years old in July. 

My grandmother was born on Rhodes, a small island off the coast of Greece with a tumultuous and storied history – if a country and its history can infuse the spirit of a human, then Rhodes and my grandmother share a soul. The romance of Rhodes, with its ties to Turkey, Greece, and Italy, sculpted the woman that my grandmother would become.  She was born into a world of beauty, warmth, culture, and peace. She would watch, luckily from afar, as her island was overrun with Germans and her family taken to concentration camps, where many of them were killed – her parents on the first night.

This is a woman who came to the United States without knowing any...

Mar 9, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

All photos courtesy Rachel Hopkin/Nevada Humanities

I think I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve led a rather peripatetic existence; so far, as an adult, I’ve lived in fifteen cities across seven countries within three continents. In fact, I was once told by a psychic that I had no “root chakra” and although the rest of our conversation was nonsensical, that part resonated.  So it’s rather ironic that I now work for an organization which considers facilitating a sense of rootedness - or at least a sense of connection - between Nevada’s residents and their beautiful state as part of its raison d’être.

Over the years I’ve learned that the way I best connect with a place is to get out and walk on the land beneath it. Thus, one of the great revelations...

Feb 14, 2014 | Posted by Nevada Humanities

Just over a week ago, the town of Elko played host to thousands of visitors from all over the world who descended on north east Nevada for the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. It was the Gathering’s 30th year and among those in attendance was Rachel Hopkin. Rachel is a folklorist and radio producer who works for Nevada Humanities and she put together this report for KUNR about this event which – as she found out - had a very particular focus this year.

This report aired as part of KUNR's...

Feb 7, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

This year, as last, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. It was the event’s thirtieth anniversary and since that milestone happened to coincide with its home state’s sesquicentennial celebration, there was – for the first time in the Gathering’s history – a special focus on the cowboy culture of Nevada.

Consequently, there were a number of sessions with a Silver State theme, including a Friday night sell-out show entitled “Nevada in my Heart”.  It featured a range of performers who all possessed, in different ways, a significant connection to this place and...

Feb 7, 2014 | Posted by Karen Wikander

When I first started working at Nevada Humanities, there was a day when I travelled to Las Vegas, trying to woo teachers into using the ONE in the classroom. "Whizz! Bang! Help me help you!" kind of stuff. After a day doing the calisthenics of an extrovert, my very introverted self was thrilled to finally sit back and relax on the plane ride home to Reno. Of course, as it was a Southwest flight from LAS --> RNO, the plane was heaving with people. As I was lucky enough to be one of the last people to board, I ended up in the dreaded middle seat. So much for hiding out next to the window.

That said, I was lucky enough to be seated next to a very pleasant guy who worked in geothermal energy. After developing a friendly banter, and as you do when trapped with people in close...

Jan 27, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

First of all, I should clarify that I’m not really an “insider” as I’ve lived in Vegas for little more than a year.  Still, in this is the most transient of cities, that could give me at least a small claim to a local perspective and it’s definitely true that I’m now familiar with certain aspects of the city that might elude the average visitor to these climes.

To be honest, my reason for writing this blog is quite selfish; one of the things about living in Las Vegas is that an unusual number of friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, and so on, pass through.  Since I’ve been here, I think I’ve had about 10-12 different sets of visitors stop by, which for sure never happened in rural Kentucky where I was previously based.  After all, this city gets nigh on 40 million...

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